Introduction: Panax notoginseng is one of the traditional precious and bulk-traded medicinal materials in China. Its anticoagulant activity is related to its saponin composition. However, the correlation between saponins and anticoagulant activities in P. notoginseng from different origins and identification of the origins have been rarely reported.
Objectives: We aimed to analyze the correlation of components and activities of P. notoginseng from different origins and develop a rapid P. notoginseng origin identification method.
Materials and methods: Pharmacological experiments, HPLC, and ATR-FTIR spectroscopy (variable selection) combined with chemometrics methods of P. notoginseng main roots from four different origins (359 individuals) in Yunnan Province were conducted.
Results: The pharmacological experiments and HPLC showed that the saponin content of P. notoginseng main roots was not significantly different. It was the highest in main roots from Wenshan Prefecture (9.86%). The coagulation time was prolonged to observe the strongest effect (4.99 s), and the anticoagulant activity was positively correlated with the contents of the three saponins. The content of ginsenoside Rg1 had the greatest influence on the anticoagulant effect. The results of spectroscopy combined with chemometrics show that the variable selection method could extract a small number of variables containing valid information and improve the performance of the model. The variable importance in projection has the best ability to identify the origins of P. notoginseng; the accuracy of the training set and the test set was 0.975 and 0.984, respectively.
Conclusion: This method is a powerful analytical tool for the activity analysis and identification of Chinese medicinal materials from different origins.